Members in the Media
From: Pacific Standard

Superman May Inspire Altruistic Behavior

For all their box-office success, superheroes haven’t gotten much respect of late. A 2017 study reported that preschoolers who identify with superheroes tend to be more aggressive than their peers. Numerous pop-culture commentators, including Bill Maher, argue that these characters share some blame for the presidency of Donald Trump, citing superheroes’ advocacy of vigilantism, and the comic-book message that only one extraordinary man can save us.

But new research suggests that the Man of Steel may have been maligned: It reports that people exposed to images of Superman were more likely than others to engage in helpful behavior.

“Heroes loom large as exemplars of morality. They often embody virtues that we wish to express in our lives,” writes a research team led by psychologists Daryl Van Tongeren of Hope College and Jeffrey Green of Virginia Commonwealth University. Their findings suggests that subtle reminders of the superhero ethos can inspire us to emulate their selfless behavior.

Read the whole story (subscription may be required): Pacific Standard

More of our Members in the Media >

APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations present in article comments are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of APS or the article’s author. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines.

Please login with your APS account to comment.